7 Ways to Celebrate the True Meaning of Memorial Day - United Hub

7 ways to celebrate the true meaning of Memorial Day

By Matt Chernov

Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to 1868, when Union Army General John A. Logan placed wreaths on the graves of fallen Civil War soldiers and issued a proclamation calling for a day of national observance for their sacrifice. More than a century later, President Nixon officially declared the last Monday of May as a federal holiday to honor the American soldiers who died serving in the armed forces in all wars. Though many of us celebrate the day with social events like cookouts, barbecues and backyard get-togethers, the true meaning of Memorial Day is much deeper than that. To help you mark the occasion with the respect it deserves, here are seven ways to experience Memorial Day this — and every other — year.

Enjoy a parade

Memorial Day parades offer us a way to join together as a community and honor the brave men and women who've given their lives for the sake of our freedom. Scheduled to take place in the afternoon on May 28, the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C. is by far the largest in the country, and includes patriotic marching bands, dazzling floats and a family-friendly atmosphere. In New York City, each of the five boroughs will hold an elaborate Memorial Day parade this year. The biggest one is the Little Neck–Douglaston parade in Queens, and the oldest is Brooklyn's Memorial Day parade, which is about to celebrate its 150th anniversary.

Vietnam Memorial Reflections

Visit a memorial

War memorials are sacred places where we commemorate the courageous men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for the United States. Inscribed chronologically with the names of more than 58,000 American soldiers who gave their lives in service to the country, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. is an unforgettable place to visit on Memorial Day, or any other day for that matter. Likewise, the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia, offers visitors a variety of ways to honor the soldiers who fell on Omaha Beach in 1944.

Learn about history

Since Memorial Day is a time when we honor fallen service members throughout our country's entire history, a trip to a U.S. military museum is a terrific way to celebrate the true meaning of the holiday. The National WWII Museum in New Orleans is one of the finest educational facilities of its kind in the world, and will be hosting several Memorial Day events this year, including a performance by the U.S. Marine Corps Band. Other museums worth visiting include the National Infantry Museum in Columbus, Georgia, and the U.S. Naval Academy Museum in Annapolis, Maryland.

Tombstones below beautiful tree in Arlington National Cemetery

Pay your respects

Bringing flowers to a veterans' cemetery is an important way to honor the soldiers who died fighting for our country. That's why each year on Memorial Day weekend, Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia holds a deeply moving wreath laying ceremony that's open to the public. If you'd like to participate in a similar ceremony at a veterans' cemetery near you, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs webpage offers a complete list of VA national cemeteries in every state, including up-to-date info on Memorial Day ceremonies being held at each of them this year.

Experience a concert

From the glorious sound of “The Star-Spangled Banner," to the classic song “America the Beautiful," music and Memorial Day go hand-in-hand. So, this year, why not celebrate the holiday with a patriotic concert? Chances are there's a local school or a municipal auditorium near you that's hosting a live musical event to mark the occasion. Or better yet, take a trip to the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. and enjoy the annual National Memorial Day Concert, which features incredible musical performances, vintage documentary footage and powerful dramatic readings by well-known celebrities. This spectacular concert is broadcast on PBS each year, but the live event is free for the pubic to attend in person.

Fort Sumter, South Carolina

Step into the past

Exploring one of the many historic forts and garrisons located around the country is a fascinating way to pay tribute to the military heroes who helped shape our nation. Fort Verde State Historic Park in Arizona, Fort Sumter National Monument in South Carolina and Fort McHenry (the birthplace of Francis Scott Key's song “The Star-Spangled Banner") in Maryland are all highly recommended public parks that bring history alive on Memorial Day.

Lend a helping hand

Memorial Day is about honoring fallen service members, but that doesn't mean that we can't use the holiday to show our veterans and enlisted men and women how much they mean to us. A great way to do that is by visiting a local veterans' hospital or a nearby VFW post. A simple gift of cookies, cards, poems or flowers might do more to lift the spirits of an aging veteran than you could possibly imagine. Or if you're already planning to host a backyard barbecue this year, try reaching out to the family of someone currently serving in the military overseas and invite them over to share a Memorial Day that you'll never forget.

Getting there

Wherever your Memorial Day travel plans take you, United is there to help. Visit united.com for more info, or use the United app to book your next trip.

Adjusting to Customer Demand, United Adds New Nonstop Service to Florida

By United Newsroom, August 12, 2020

CHICAGO, Aug. 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today announced plans to add up to 28 daily nonstop flights this winter connecting customers in Boston, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, New York/LaGuardia, Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio to four popular Florida destinations. The new, nonstop flights reflect United's continuing strategy to aggressively, and opportunistically manage the impact of COVID-19 by increasing service to destinations where customers most want to fly.

Entertainment for all

By The Hub team, August 04, 2020

Our Marketing Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity team and Bridge, our Business Resource Group (BRG) for people with all abilities, partnered together to test and provide feedback on our award-winning seatback inflight entertainment (IFE) system.

Aptly named "Entertainment for all," our new seatback IFE system offers the an extensive suite of accessibility features, allowing for unassisted use by people of all visual, hearing, mobility and language abilities.

"It's nice to know that I can get on a plane and pick my favorite entertainment to enjoy, just like every customer," said Accessibility Senior Analyst and Developer and Bridge Chief of Staff Ray C., who is blind.

"As a deaf employee, the closed captioning availability on board our aircraft is something I value greatly," added Information Technology Analyst Greg O. "The new IFE further cements United's visibility within the deaf community and elsewhere. It makes me proud to be an employee."

Accessibility features of the new IFE include a text-to-speech option, explore by touch, customizable text size, screen magnification, color correction and inversion modes, and alternative navigation options for those unable to swipe or use a handset. For hearing-impaired and non-English-speaking passengers, customization options provide the ability for customers to be served content and receive inflight notifications based on their preferences and settings —with closed captions, with subtitles or in the language of their choice from the 15 languages supported. Our "Entertainment for all" system won the Crystal Cabin Award in 2019, and recently, the Dr. Margaret Pfanstiehl Research and Development Award for Audio Description by the American Council of the Blind.

"This really showed the benefits of partnering with BRGs in helping us improve products and services for our customers and employees," said Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity Senior Manager Corinne S. "Even though we have been recognized with awards for our IFE accessibility features, we are not resting on our laurels but continuing to work towards improving the inflight entertainment experience for all of our customers to ensure entertainment is available for all."

Shaping an inclusive future with Special Olympics

By The Hub team, July 24, 2020

If your travels have taken you through Chicago O'Hare International Airport anytime since October 2019, you may have had a friendly, caring and jovial exchange with Daniel Smrokowski. Daniel is one of four Service Ambassadors thanks to our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics. This inaugural ambassador program aims to provide Special Olympic athletes employment opportunities within our operation, affording them a unique and meaningful career.

Since 2018, our partnership with Special Olympics has become one of United's most cherished relationships, going beyond the events we take part in and volunteer with. While the plane pull competitions, polar plunges, duck derbies and Special Olympics World Games and other events around the world are a big part of our involvement, the heart of this partnership lies with the athletes and individuals supported by Special Olympics. To advocate for their inclusion in every setting is one of our biggest honors, and we take great pride in the role we play in the organization's inclusion revolution.

Aiding in the success of Special Olympics' mission to create continuing opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, throughout the two-year partnership, United has volunteered over 10,500 hours and donated over $1.2 million in travel to the organization. The impact of this partnership is felt at every level, both at Special Olympics and within our own ranks.

"The Inclusion Revolution campaign, led by our athletes, aims to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. United Airlines has joined in our fight for inclusion, empowering our athletes with the skills needed to succeed and opportunities to contribute their abilities as leaders," said Special Olympics International Chairman Tim Shriver. "United Airlines believes that people with intellectual disabilities should be perceived as they really are: independent, world-class athletes, students, employees, neighbors, travelers, and leaders who contribute to make this world a better place."

Our Service Ambassador program is just one of the many ways Special Olympics has impacted not only our employees, but also our customers. "I see every day how our Service Ambassadors connect with our customers the moment they walk into the airport lobby," said Senior Customer Service Supervisor Steve Suchorabski. "They provide a warm, welcoming smile ad assist in any way they can. To see these young adults hold positions that a society once told them they couldn't is truly the most heartwarming part of my job," Steve continued.

"The opportunity to be a part of the United family means everything to me," Daniel said. "I feel so much pride showing up to work in a Special Olympics/United co-branded uniform, working among such a loving and supportive community. The relationship between these two organizations is truly helping to shape my future while letting me use my gifts of communicating and helping others. Hopefully, I can spend my entire career at United," Daniel added.

In honor of Special Olympics' Global Week of Inclusion in July, we're asking our employees, customers and partners to sign a pledge to #ChooseToInclude at jointherevolution.org/pledge.

And be sure to check out Daniel's podcast The Special Chronicles.

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